Det. John Thinnes would rather tackle homicide than rape—there’s usually a connection between the criminal and the victim that makes it easier to find evidence—but Lt. Rossi isn’t asking his preference. Nor is he asking how Thinnes feels about taking on a new partner, a woman with a man’s name, Don Franchi, and enough attitude for both genders. So Thinnes and Franchi join forces to investigate the assault in Lincoln Park, in one of Chicago’s most upscale alleys. Katherine Lake has been so badly beaten that the roommate who reports her missing can barely recognize her, and she’s no help in identifying likely suspects. Nor are any of her quirky neighbors, from truculent fashion photographer Erik Last to agoraphobic Doctor Eyes, né Alvin Eisner. But then Thinnes and Franchi get a new lead of the very worst sort: the rape and murder of Monica Nesbit, whose attacker this time wasn’t content to leave her half-dead—together with a growing body of evidence that links both cases to a pair of earlier assaults in the area, and to the unsolved murder of a Jane Doe. As Thinnes and Franchi struggle to sort out the clues and each other, Thinnes’s friend, consulting psychologist Jack Caleb, is broadening the focus by treating a woman who can’t forget her own rape 15 years ago, and interviewing a rapist who insists that his date asked for everything she got.
Meaty, complex, and densely textured: this fourth outing for the too-seldom-seen Thinnes and Caleb (Incendiary Designs, 1998, etc.) is a case you can sink your teeth into.